With the successful completion of those crucial weeks of your pregnancy and thinking of the time when you would hold your baby in your arms, happiness and anxious moments start piling up. But quite often, it is seen that an expecting woman would be ready for the entire process of delivering the baby and to start a whole new phase of life, but her due date just comes and goes and there are no signs of labor. Though passing the due date is a common phenomenon, sadly it leaves the would-be mother disheartened and sometimes annoyed. Due to a hectic work schedule and an unhealthy lifestyle, usually it is not so easy to go in to labor spontaneously. As a result, many women resort to some natural ways to induce it, which are not only effective but safe too. One such method is to massage to induce labor, after she has surpassed her due date.
Inducing Labor Through Massage
One of the most enjoyable ways to induce labor is to get a good massage. Using massage techniques can stimulate several pressure points on the expecting mother's body that can start uterus contractions. This relaxation technique reduces the stress hormones, such as adrenaline in the body, which if found in excess can decrease or slow down contractions and to some extend can prevent the expecting mother from going in to labor.
In the foot, there are pressure points that can affect the uterus and stimulate contractions. While massaging, these pressure points send signals to the brain to start contractions. The first pressure point is located just above the inner ankle, which when rubbed in a circular manner for 15 - 20 minutes can cause uterus contractions. Thumb point is another pressure point which is most useful in stirring up labor. All you need to do is to press firmly on the center of the thumb for 3 - 5 minutes. This stimulates the pituitary gland which releases oxytocin, a hormone in the body that causes uterine contractions.
Another point is the shin bone, which can be located by moving the hand toward the inner side of the leg. Just move your hand along the bone and as you no longer feel the shin bone, the mother should get a tender sensation signifying that you're in the right spot. Apply gentle pressure to this point for a minute or so, and then repeat after 20 minutes on the other leg. This methods help in opening up the cervix.
There is a pressure point present on the hand just between the thumb and pointer finger, right on the webbing. By massaging it in circular manner for 15 - 20 minutes can also cause the uterus to contract.
Back and Shoulder Massage
For back and shoulder massage, ask the expecting mother to turn on her side, as best as possible, considering her current girth. Start by slowly massaging her back and shoulders, as this will inhibit any surging stress hormones. While massaging the shoulders, locate the fleshy section of the trapezius muscle and feel along this muscle while going out toward the shoulder. Just before you sense the bony prominence where the collarbone meets the shoulder, apply a firm pressure and push downward with your thumb. Alternatively, you can also use your knuckle or elbow, if your thumb gets tired.
This technique mainly works by stimulating the release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes uterus contractions. All you need to do is to rub the areola (dark circle around the nipple) in a gentle rolling way with your palm or fingers. Massage one breast at a time and don't massage for more than 5 minutes. After massaging, wait for 15 minutes to see what happens and if the contractions start, don't stimulate the nipples for more than a minute or so.
Massage to induce labor should only be tried when you are 40 weeks pregnant or overdue, else you may force the baby to come out before he/she may be ready to survive outside the womb. Besides these, there are many other methods, like essential oils, spicy food, sex, acupressure, etc., that can induce labor naturally. Whichever method you adopt, ensure that you are doing it under a doctor's supervision to avoid any unnecessary complications.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.